Language advocates on the Hill at the 2014 JNCL-NCLIS meeting

Member/Donor Alert: 100% of dues paid by LSA members who join for the first time, or who renew a lapsed membership, between the months of March and May 2017, will be used to support the LSA's public policy agenda. Any donors who make charitable contributions to the LSA General Fund between March and May 2017, will also have their donations set-side for use in supporting the LSA's advocacy agenda.

Current and Pending Action Alerts:

From promoting scientific research funding to supporting multilingual education, the LSA is active in a broad range of policy issues affecting language and linguistics.

LSA staff work with external organizations and internal groups to inform policymakers and opinion leaders about the important role of linguistics in benefiting the broader public. Members with an interest in policy issues are encouraged to stay informed and take part in the LSA's work.

Linguistics Research and Public Policy

Linguistics research has important implications for policies relating to K-12 education, national security, technology, health care, the judicial system, and many other critical aspects of everyday life. Linguists have worked closely with officials in state and federal agencies to help shape and inform their policies governing a wide range of issues. Read more about the intersection of these topics in our Policy Issue Brief (pdf).

The intersection between language and public policy is explored in a new section of the LSA's scholarly journal, Language. This section on Language and Public Policy welcomes submissions from LSA members whose research is focused on these intersecting issues.

Advocacy and Legislation

In recent years, the LSA has assumed a leadership role in the efforts of allied organizations to promote language documentation and revitalization work among tribal communities in North America, while also encouraging policymakers to support this work through related initiatives. The LSA frequently joins with other members of the scientific, humanistic and higher education communities in efforts to support and maintain federal funding for linguistics research, particularly via the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Department of Education. The LSA works to highlight the benefits of linguistics research and to share the need for policies that are informed by the latest studies in the field. More detailed information about the LSA's advocacy efforts on behalf of the humanities is available here. We are also active in opposition to efforts to establish English as the official, or only language, of the the USA. 

In January 2016, the LSA organized its first-ever Advocacy Day in conjunction with its Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Attendees conducted Congressional office visits on the day before or after the conference was held. We encourage linguists to meet with elected officials in their home districts as well to share information about the value of linguistics research to their community and the nation.

Over the years, the LSA has issued a series of statements, resolutions and endorsements on a range of policy issues relating to language and linguistics.

LSA Committees Active on Policy Issues

The LSA invites interested members to join one of these committees and/or get more involved individually on linguistic policy issues.

LSA External Partners on Policy Issues

The LSA partners with a diverse array of colleague organizations and coalitions to advance its policy agenda. For some organizations, the LSA has appointed official delegates and liaisons to enhance further collaboration. The organizations most active on policy issues affecting linguists include:

Many of these organizations offer free electronic newsletters and action alerts on issues of interest to linguists, which LSA members may subscribe to directly by contacting these organizations.